Henkel AG & Co.’s (OTCKPK: HENOY) Persil ProClean laundry detergent is now officially on sale at another U.S. retailer. The August 14 to 20 newspaper insert for Shaw’s, an Albertsons subsidiary that operates in New England, features “new Persil ProClean” and even mentions a $4.99 sale price.
This is an interesting development because Persil ProClean has only been available at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) locations in the United States. Persil ProClean is Henkel’s answer to Proctor & Gamble’s (NYSE: PG) Tide, which dominates the American laundry detergent market.
What is even more interesting is that Persil ProClean was not shown in the newspaper circular for Albertsons (Shaw’s owner) for those dates. Nor was it featured in newspaper ads for Safeway, which is in the process of merging with Albertsons.
To make matters a little more confusing, the official Persil ProClean website states that the detergent is available at three stores in the United States: Wal-Mart; Meijer, which operates supercenters in the Midwest; and Shoprite, a chain of supermarkets found in the Middle Atlantic states and Connecticut. I could not find Persil mentioned in either of those chains’ circulars nor on Meijer’s website. The Persil website does not mention Shaw’s.
It looks as if Persil ProClean is getting rolled out in the U.S., but it is being rolled out in spurts. One has to wonder when this product will hit Kroger (NYSE: KR) and Target (NYSE: TGT).
Online, it can only be ordered from one retailer: Walmart.com, which offers several Persil products, including Persil ProClean Power Pearls powdered detergent, an intense fresh liquid, and ProClean Power-Caps. It looks as if Henkel is serious about entering the U.S. market. One has to wonder if ProClean will be a niche player or a serious challenge to Tide.
Disclosure your Blogger is long on Kroger